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Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.
A scale for measuring the hardness (resistance to abrasion or scratching) of a specimen of mineral or other hard substance, prepared in 1812 by the Austrian mineralogist Friedrich Mohs (1773-1839), being a series of ten specified minerals in the order of their relative hardness - the intervals between the listed minerals not being equal or proportionate - against which the specimen is rated.
The minerals on the scale are: talc; gypsum, calcite, fluorspar, apatite, orthoclase (feldspar); quartz; topaz; sapphire (corundum); diamond. Intermediate measurements are indicated by fractions. All the important gemstones have a hardness of at least 5, but pearls and coral are lower.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson